Throughout Holy Week, I have found myself thinking more and more about salvation in the context of the discussions we have been having over at Felix’s place and other locales as well. One of the things that I have learned to do as an Orthodox Christian is to consider my opinions less and attempt to submit myself to the opinions of the Church. It is a difficult enterprise to get past the whole "I think it means..." thing. But, anyway, the mind of the Church can be found in a variety of sources (since we Orthodox do not have a defined or “official” catechism to appeal to), one of which is our hymns. And those, which are being sung presently, have in a sense enlightened me.
Felix is right, Christ is our salvation, and I fear I may have misspoken or spoken too hastily (if not at Felix's then certainly elsewhere) in saying things like: “the cross doesn’t save anyone!” Hymns I fumbled through last night while we crucified God explicitly contradicted such a statement. And yet, obviously Pascha as celebrated by the Church is a pivotal and crucial happening in the accomplishment of our salvation…as I said at Felix’s blog, it is the crescendo of a grand piece of music.
But this morning as I switched our family’s main icon to that of the crucifixion, lit some candles, burned some incense, and said my prayers, I found myself thinking about birthing pains. Pregnancy is, I believe, a better analogy. From the annunciation on, Christ’s life (as our salvation) is like a pregnancy…ever growing and maturing and culminating in the birth pains we experience now as the passion of our God. Like real birth pains, it is a time of redemptive suffering that leads to an indescribable brightness, without which the pregnancy is a bitter and pointless thing. A stillborn savior simply will not do, and neither would a magically appearing savior for whom there was no analogous pregnancy. The pregnacy is a neccesary portion of bringing life into the world and clearly it saves us too!
There is a tremendous sense of anticipation in the air and I am very much reminded of those four times when my wife and I were preparing for the trip down to the local hospital. We are preparing and we are enduring…waiting for that blessed brightness. The Resurrection (birth) of our God.
...offered by Dn. fdj, a sinner at 8:31 AM [+]